InfoComm MCA-I Pro-Track: Work the room like a pro

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MCA-I Pro-Track: Work the room like a pro

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SOURCE: Tips from MCA-I Pro Track™� POSTED: 04/11/05

So you’ve decided to attend an upcoming MCA-I or other professional association event to do some networking. Good for you ... but you'll need to work the room like a pro — with focus, style and finesse. Here are 10 simple best practices to increase your skills and confidence ... and results.

1. Know why you’re there. Precisely define your specific networking objective for the event. What types of people do you want to meet? What will you say when you do? 

2. Get there early and stay late. Make it the most important thing you'll do that day. You’ll make up the time later.

3. Let your nametag help you network. Put it high on your right lapel or right side and don't put it where you don't want people to look.

4. Smile so you look friendly and sincere. A good smile says "I'm someone you'd like to meet." And smile with your eyes, too.

5. Offer a firm and energetic, but comfortable hand shake. Don't squeeze too hard or shake too long. 

6. Always talk to strangers ... only talk to strangers. Don't spend much time chatting with people you already know, because the more strangers you meet — the greater the chances you'll accomplish your objectives. It’s not the people you met that matters as much as the people you didn’t meet because you spent too much time talking with people you already know.

7. Sit smart. Don't sit too early because you can't choose who sits with you. Sit surrounded by strangers.  It's called net-work, not net-sit.

8. Don't offer your business card up front. Wait until you have a reason at the end of a brief conversation. Let the other people ask for yours first or ask if you can give them your card. 

9. Ask good questions. While casual chitchat is harmless and easy, it takes time away from finding out about the other person.

10. Talk less and listen more. You need to gather enough data to begin answering the question "Is this person someone I want to get to know better, someone who I can help or who can help me?".

These 10 simple networking best practices can increase your skills, confidence ... and results.  And watch how they differentiate you from the other people who are networking at the same event like rank amateurs.

Phil Stella
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication (phone: 440.449.0356; e-mail
etcpjs@aol.com). He’s a training resource for business people who want to communicate with more power and success. Stella is a 28-year veteran of MCA-I (ITVA).